Rocky Creek to reverse Hennessy form in Argento Chase
Paul Nicholls found that several of his horses were needing their first run this season and put extra work into Rocky Creek ahead of the Hennessy Gold Cup. The eight-year-old son of Dr Massini ran a terrific race at Newbury, failing by just two and three-quarter lengths to catch Triolo D’Alene.
He was also conceding 4lbs to his race-fit opponent and may have found the ground just a little quick for him. Nicholls was keen not to give the horse a tough season as a novice so he bypassed Cheltenham Gold Cup but the festival could be on the agenda if he wins on Saturday.
Triolo D’Alene also holds a Gold Cup entry but Nicky Henderson believes that the Grand National is a more realistic objective for the chestnut. He was recently pulled out of the race at Ascot won by Houblon Des Obeaux because of the ground and he will not want it too soft on Saturday.
Houblon Des Obeaux has now won twice at Ascot either side of a poor run in the Hennessy. Whatever the reason for his Newbury run, he has now risen to a career-high mark and deserves his chance at Grade 2 level.
Theatre Guide finished third at Newbury before being beaten by Monbeg Dude at Cheltenham. He travelled and jumped well that day but the winner produced the better turn of foot.
Harry Topper won gamely at Wetherby but ran no sort of race at Sandown last time. If you put a rule through that run, he is right in contention here.
Champion Court is yet to prove that he stays this distance and was beaten a long way by Captain Chris at Kempton. He had previously unseated his rider early on in the King George and he has something to prove.
The Giant Bolster seems to reserve his best form for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and both Time For Rupert and Walkon have been out of form of late. Unioniste seems more likely to head to Doncaster for the Sky Bet Chase.